After Peter and John were charged by the Jewish council to keep quiet about Jesus (Acts 4:18), they were released. Their response to the experience is recorded here in Acts 4:23-31. They returned to fellow believers and shared what just happened: the arrest, the inquiry, the testimony, and the threats (Acts 4:1-22). Imagine with me for a moment if things had gone differently in verse 24, as Peter and John shared their account to the fellowship. What if the text read, “When they heard it, they quieted their voices and disassembled.” There wouldn’t be much left to write in the book of Acts.
Instead of responding in fear, the followers of Jesus acted in faith. They heard the threats (Acts 4:21), but they were not intimidated by them. Neither did they rely on their own strength and wisdom to stand firm against the opposition. Fear and self-reliance will never impart spiritual strength. These early believers knew this, and so they turned to the fount of power—God himself—through prayer (Acts 4:24-30).
This prayer acknowledged that a real threat existed: the same people who crucified Jesus were now persecuting His followers (Acts 4:27). However, instead of praying for these threats to disappear, they prayed for boldness to continue preaching Christ (Acts 4:29).
So often, when I face a challenging situation, my gut reaction is one of fear or self-reliance. The example of the disciples in this passage encourages me to seek boldness, strength, and power from the Holy Spirit alone. I am encouraged to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). May the boldness of Jesus fill your heart today, no matter what you are facing!
Acts 4:23-31 (ESV):
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.